Kano Pillars defender Chinedu Udoji has told supersport.com that Sunday’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) match against his former club Enyimba will “be a bit emotional” for him. He explained that the story of his career cannot be written without the mention of the Peoples Elephant despite now lining up for Kano Pillars.
Udoji further took time to speak about the respect he still holds for Enyimba and singled out the biggest individual threat Kano Pillars at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
“I know tomorrow (Sunday) is going to be a little bit emotional for me, but for now I am defending the colours of Kano Pillars which I have to do very well. I am ready for the game. I am calm. I am not under pressure. I am not playing at home and it is not like the match is a do-or-die affair.
“Enyimba have been part of my career in a big way. There is no story about Chinedu Udoji that you won’t add Enyimba to it. And for me to celebrate (if I score against Enyimba) will be difficult for me because while I was there they didn’t treat me badly and I have won trophies with them. I have huge respect for Enyimba and what they have achieved and if I should score tomorrow there is no emotional reason that I won’t celebrate because it has been in me. It is just that things have to change sometimes. The game of football can be emotional, you never can tell what will happen. But I know I can control myself.
“No doubt Mfon is my successor as the captain of the (Enyimba) team. He is a very good player. He holds a very important record in Nigeria which you have to respect. However I treat every player equally (during matches). I know what he is capable of doing, and he himself knows what I am capable of doing. I know he is not scared of me and I am not scared of him. So there is no special treatment for anybody.
“The player I am thinking is more dangerous now (in Enyimba’s team) is (Ikechukwu) Ibenegbu, the midfield general and free kick specialist. With such player who has scored goals from two free kicks in recent games you cannot tell what can happen if he gets such an opportunity. I just have to say Enyimba have a very good team of good players. Enyimba are known for signing the best players and this season is no different. They have done well this season. This is the biggest game in Nigeria now no matter the positions of the two clubs on the table,” he told supersport.com on the eve of the game.
The former FC Abuja man also believes that his club still have an outside chance of finishing in the top-three which would land them a place on the continent.
“Anything is possible. I didn’t play on the continent this season and I don’t see myself not playing on the continent for two seasons in a roll. It will be very difficult to accept that. I have been playing on the continent for years now in my career but missing out this year is something I learned to accept as a footballer. I still think anything is possible because if a team like Akwa United that started very badly can turn things around and be in third position and are even contesting to win the league.
“At the moment the league is not yet won or lost. For me, Akwa United and MFM are still in the title race, you cannot write the two teams out. If any team can win an away match now the table will change. Look at Sunshine Stars. Two away wins and they have climbed out of the relegation zone as it stands. So we still have a very good chance to play on the continent,” said Udoji.
Udoji spent six years with Enyimba and captained the club to two league and two Cup titles but left the two-time African champions to join rivals Kano Pillars at the start of this NPFL season.
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